Charles Goyette interviews Ron Paul for their weekly podcast on the question of U.S. intervention in Ukraine and the new U.S./IMF bailout Kiev bill, as well as the leaked phone call of Turkish officials discussing the possibility of launching a false flag attack to justify further intervention in Syria.
When I arrived late at the town hall event in Meredith, he [Ron Paul] was prefacing an answer to a question about Israel by expressing admiration for Zionist principles of independence and self-reliance, going on to say, of course, that Israel shouldn’t get any US aid. (Paul, or someone on his staff, has clearly read this Jeffrey Goldberg post.)
Ah, so Paul cynically stole a talking point from Jeffrey Goldberg — who had, um, explained Paul’s position on Israel by quoting the congressman. It doesn’t get much sneakier than that.
We might stay in Afghanistan significantly longer than we would otherwise — though I’m not sure about this. …
Romney has talked tough on China, but that’s just campaign bushwa. He’d quickly find out that his options are extremely limited on this score. On foreign policy more generally, Obama is actually fairly tenacious, despite Romney’s bluster to the contrary, and I doubt that Romney would be able to move much further to his right.
One doesn’t have to agree with all of Ron Paul’s libertarian views to admire his principled anti-interventionism and opposition to America’s eternal wars: clearly his foreign policy positions intersect at the point where character meets ideology. In this interview with USA Today, he responds to the ever popular if-only-Paul-would-moderate-his-‘isolationism’ meme:
“His poll status has attracted fire from his Republican opponents, who have criticized his views on Iran — he opposes a U.S. strike to stop their nuclear ambitions — and Israel, which he says no longer needs U.S. foreign aid. They’ve called Paul ‘outside the mainstream’ for those and for calling for the speedy removal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
“Paul cares little for calls that he ‘go more moderate’ on foreign policy. He is who he is. ‘That would be the last thing I’m going to do … water down my beliefs.‘
“‘Others have argued ‘Oh yeah, if Ron Paul would just go more moderate on this foreign policy all of the sudden he would get a broader audience’ and that’s isn’t it,” he said. ‘The more I’ve been talking about what I’ve been saying for a long time, the more people we have joining us.‘”
This is the same argument I make in my Friday column on the subject of “Ron Paul and the Future of American Foreign Policy” — that Paul’s success has changed the discourse inside the GOP and the conservative movement, and transformed the political landscape. His Iowa surprise debunks the myth of a monolithic militaristic “conservatism,” which hasn’t been the case since the implosion of the Soviet empire — and really never was the case, since libertarians dissented early on from their conservative cousins’ enthusiasm for nuclear war with the commies.
What has charmed millions about Paul is his purity, and I don’t just mean ideologically. It’s his insistance on emphasizing precisely what is supposedly “controversial” about his candidacy — because he recognizes its moral importance as well as its centrality to his own worldview. How unlike a politician can you get?
Libertarians in Washington are not happy about how the Republican primary is shaping up. Barring a miracle, there are two candidates with a decent shot at the nomination. Mitt Romney, the godfather of Obamacare, is not libertarians’ first choice. And they think Newt Gingrich, the new frontrunner, is even worse.
I don’t know about the “decent shot” part, but otherwise, so far, so good. Then there’s this:
“There’s a belief that the field represents a pre-Tea Party Republicanism,” said Michael D. Tanner, a senior research fellow at the Libertarian Cato Institute. It’s a crop of left-overs, he explains. Libertarians wanted Paul Ryan or Chris Christie.
Excuse me? As Daniel Larison puts it, “I don’t want to assume that the views expressed in this report are representative of libertarians or even libertarian policy wonks, but the idea that there were any libertarians interested in Paul Ryan and Chris Christie is baffling.”
If that baffles you, keep reading. TPM:
While less than perfect, libertarians are hoping for a Jon Huntsman resurgence to spare them from Newt and Mitt. “I think there is burgeoning interest in Jon Huntsman,” says [the Cato Institute’s David] Boaz, though perhaps “too late to matter.” While not a card-carrying libertarian, says Tanner, he possesses the right combination of a very conservative economic agenda and more moderate positions on foreign policy and social issues.
I’ll assume that’s a dangling modifier in the first sentence and Jon Huntsman is “less than perfect” (though, to be fair, so are libertarians). That’s an understatement, but set it aside for the moment. Go read the article. Notice whose name is conspicuously absent? Hint: he was once the Libertarian Party nominee for president, and he’s 16 points ahead of Jon Huntsman among likely Iowa caucus-goers.
It’s true that Huntsman breaks with the party on some individual foreign policy and social issues, but overall Huntsman is more conservative on social issues than almost anyone else in the field, and his “moderation” on foreign policy includes support for bombing Iran. It’s impressive how far out of their way some of these folks will go to avoid supporting the candidates with whom they agree on virtually everything.
These people live in and around D.C. They have nice, normal liberal and conservative friends whose tolerance for radicalism extends to attending a Cato policy briefing on school vouchers once a year. They have reputations to maintain. Jon Huntsman may be hungry for votes, but he sure ain’t weird.
When he was recently booed by a lot of the audience in Tampa, Florida, for invoking the infamous blow-back doctrine, some of Representative and Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul’s defenders blamed those who did the booing. Yet at least one friendly commentator made mention of the fact that Dr. Paul has a tough road to hoe because the matter of explaining how to understand anti-Western/American terrorism is not simple, not susceptible to sound bites.
Well, roads are always tough to hoe, what with all the asphalt. But what makes this particular highway so hard to cultivate?
Is it a good idea to explain 9/11 and other terrorist attacks on Western and especially American populations by reference to the fact that the West has inserted itself into many regions of the Muslim world without much popular support from those who live there? The idea is that because governments such as that of the US have indeed done this, there can be no complaint when those who live there carry out attacks on Westerners including hundreds of innocent people who had nothing at all to do with the foreign policy that perpetrated the insertions.
If you think that is the idea behind blowback — that military interventions excuse rather than help explain retaliatory attacks — then I suggest you put down the garden tools, back away from the turnpike, and go read something about the concept.